This cacio e pepe kugel combines the flavors of Rome’s famous pasta dish with the comfort of a rich baked kugel. Cooked linguine is mixed with ricotta, mascarpone, Pecorino Romano, and plenty of black pepper and baked until crisp and golden.
Cacio e Pepe Kugel
- Quick Glance
- Quick Glance
- 25 M
- 1 H, 15 M
- Serves 8 to 12
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and generously season with salt.
In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, mascarpone, and 2 cups Pecorino, stirring well to combine. Stir in the black pepper and salt.
Stir the pasta into the water and cook until just barely al dente, 7 to 10 minutes. (The pasta will finish cooking in the casserole.) Drain and transfer the pasta to the seasoned cheese mixture, stirring well to thoroughly coat the pasta.
Coat a 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33-cm) baking dish with the butter. Transfer the pasta-cheese mixture to the baking dish and top with the remaining 1 cup Pecorino Romano cheese. Bake until the top and sides are crisp and golden brown, 40 to 50 minutes.
Sprinkle with more black pepper for garnish, cut into squares, and serve.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
This twist on the classic cacio e pepe recipe is very quick and easy to put together, has a relatively fast bake time, and tastes delicious! I made this during the last (hopefully!) Nor'easter to rumble through New Jersey and we were all looking forward to a warm, filling, and yummy dinner. My husband and two teen sons described the dish as "delicious," "rich without being too heavy," "creamy and cheesy," and "love the crunchy topping." I definitely think this can be a "make-ahead" dish. I will keep this in my repertoire of recipes that I can prepare in the morning and bake at night.
This cacio e pepe kugel works well as a main course with just a salad or as a side dish with ham or chicken. It would also be a great pot-luck casserole as I think this would be a real crowd pleaser. I saved about 4 tablespoons of the pasta water and added it to the cheese and pasta when I tossed all together. I think it made a difference in the ease in which it all came together and made it a bit lighter and smoother. I used linguine and I think the recipe's suggestion to use linguine, spaghetti or fettuccine is spot on as any other pasta shape would make this dish too heavy.
I dread the thought of cleaning baked-on cheese from my casserole dish so I lined the pan with aluminum foil and sprayed it. The dish came out perfect and my cleaning time was cut substantially! This makes A LOT but it reheated very well.
Taste memory can be an amazing thing. The aroma, the look of a dish, the taste, can all transport you to another place and time. This cacio e pepe kugel did just that for me. On one hand, it took me back to my youth. I don’t have a lot of memories of food from when I was growing up. My mother worked more than full time, which didn’t leave much time for cooking once she got home. However, one thing that I can remember, and I do remember fondly, is her kugel. I was a bit skeptical because the kugel I knew was made with egg noodles, but I was willing to give this recipe a chance. I’m so glad that I did. I used a favorite imported spaghetti. The end result tasted just like I remembered my mom’s kugel tasting. It was not heavy in any way, something that I had been concerned with, using spaghetti instead of egg noodles.
The second place that I was transported to with each bite of this kugel, and a place that I was hoping to revisit by making this, was Rome. Cacio e pepe is a traditional Roman dish, one which we were lucky enough to enjoy this past fall in the beautiful capital of Italy. If I closed my eyes, I could imagine us sitting in a trattoria, sipping a glass of house wine, and enjoying a bowl of cacao e pepe.
I divided all of the ingredients, and made half a recipe in a 9-by-9-inch Pyrex dish. It could have fed 6 people, especially with a refreshing salad on the side. I made a salad with Cara Cara oranges, thinly sliced red onions, arugula, and toasted pecans. It was a wonderful meal. One well worth repeating, especially when I want to revisit either place in time.